FIC: MC 14 Feb ’00 A Swinging Town (1/6)
Dalton Lewis chuckled as he hurried away from his acquittal party, his jubilant mood enhanced by the half a dozen beers he’d downed. He’d been guilty of-course, of drugs trafficking as well as other scarcely lesser charges. But who cared if some kids died from the poisoned junk he sold? There were always costumers queuing up for his product, always fresh meat arriving every day, hoping to make it big in the Big Apple. How did the song go – ‘If I can make it there, I'd make it anywhere’? There were plenty who failed to make it and they often ended up taking his product as a crutch. And making him lots and lots of green.
He stopped as he reached his car, the cold voice cutting into his reverie. He looked into the surrounding darkness, skin crawling as he vainly searched for the voice’s owner. Mouth dying, he reached into his jacket for his gun. It couldn’t be….
Finally he summonsed the courage to speak. "Who wants to know?" he quavered.
"Judgement." He opened his mouth to scream when a red costumed figure with the face of a devil glided out of the darkness beside him. Before he could utter a syllable his attacker’s billy club smashed into his mouth.
Blood and teeth flew out, his face exploding in pain even as he fell onto his back, the back of his head smashing on the rain soaked ground. "Mercy," he gasped, blood foaming up into his ruined mouth as he looked up at his attacker.
"Mercy?" Daredevil smiled. "No mercy. Only justice." The masked vigilante’s foot stamped down on his throat, powering through muscle and bone.
* * *
"DAREDEVIL!" Fisk knocked his desk’s papers to the ground with a sweep of his arm. "I want someone to rid me of that little bastard!"
"Sir," he looked up to see one of his henchmen, the head of his research and development department, hovering nervously by his office’s doorway. "I might have a solution."
"Really?" he fixed his underling with a piercing stare. "Do tell!"
His subordinate flinched at his bellow. After a swallow the trembling man dabbed at his sweating forehead before continuing. "I’ve discovered a weapon of supernatural power, a weapon that has been held by a long line of champions."
"And you mean to bribe the weapon’s current holder to work for us?" he guessed.
"No sir," his minion shook his head. "This line of champions have proven to be incorruptible."
"What then?" It was an effort but Fisk managed to keep his volcanic temper under control. Just barely. "Steal the weapon for ourselves?"
"The weapon only works for its designated bearer." The scientist smirked. "However its current bearer, a local detective, was bitten by a junkie in the line of duty six weeks ago. As a result she had to take a HIV test. Her test results were clear, but through our contacts at the hospital I was able to obtain a blood sample and I believe I’ve been able to create a genetic masking agent that it will fool the weapon into thinking that you are its owner."
Fisk smiled slowly. This idea had potential. "Tell me more about this weapon and its bearer," he ordered.
* * *
Faith roared with laughter as her guy finished his story, delivering the punchline with obvious relish. Even as she did so she looked around her surroundings with all the enthusiasm of a wide-eyed Big Apple virgin. Man, in the city that never sleeps with her sis and her boy-friend, she was so lucky. They were gonna see everything - The Statue Of Liberty, she had to get herself one of those miniature models, Madison Square Garden, The Empire State Building, everything.
Her eyes narrowed as she sensed something. Looking around the busy street, she saw it. "Sis," she muttered, "the couple across the street, just passing the Barnes & Noble, vamps right?" Tara nodded. Faith sighed. It looked like duty called. "Let’s go to work."
* * *
He peered down his sniper scope, preparing to eliminate some more street scum. On his second sweep through the darkened streets opposite he saw a trio of teens, two girls, and a boy, shoving a well-dressed couple his age down an alley. He readied himself to shoot, his finger tightening on the trigger.
And stopped, confused.
According to the infra-red night vision scope he was using there was only three people in the alley. He looked up again, peering into the alley. Definitely five, no, now four, his eyes widened as he watched one of the couple explode into dust. "What is going on here?" Deciding that he had to know, he rose and started towards the fracas.
* * *
The demon lunged at her, its fangs bared. She responded by bringing her knees up into her chest and kicking off at her would-be killer. The blow smashed into her opponent’s chest, splintering ribs, and flinging the demon into the wall opposite.
Faith leapt to her feet. Before she had chance to attack, Xander stepped forward and staked the dazed vampire even as it stumbled away from the wall. "Well shit," she drawled, grinning as she turned to her companions, "that wasn’t even a work-."
"What were they?"
Faith looked up, irritated at the stony-voiced intruder who’d interrupted her boasting. What she saw was a tall, rangy guy with a square jaw, close-cropped hair, intense eyes and the biggest damn gun she’d ever seen peering down at them from the fire escape three stories above. "Who the fuck wants to know?"
The man smiled, a flash of teeth that didn’t reach into his eyes. "Name’s Frank Castle," the man introduced himself. "But most know me as the Punisher."
"Oh shit," she muttered. Everyone had heard of the Punisher, the special forces vet and former cop whose family had been murdered by the mob. Since that day the tabloids reckoned he’d killed over forty organised crime leaders, ranging from Mafia Dons, Colombian drug-lords, Yakuza, Yardies, and Tong chiefs as well as over three hundred underlings. Common consensus was the guy was nuts. And he thought they were murderers. "Great," she muttered, "just wonderful."
Xander moved between her, Tara, and the gunman. Typical. Freakin’ idiot. "They were vampires."
"Vampires?" the Punisher snorted. "Heard plenty of rumours. Never believed ‘em though."
"Look," her X sounded nervous. "That’s an infra-red scope on your gun, it has to be for you to be out hunting at this time. Bet you only saw three body heat signatures when we were fighting through?"
"Yeah," the former soldier replied after a second. "That’s ‘cause they’re already dead?"
"Yeah," X’s voice had relaxed slightly. But only slightly. "That’s right."
Castle cocked his head to one side. "And you are?"
Xander shrugged. "Just kids whose families were slaughtered by vampires last year." Faith’s jaw dropped. Why was Xan lying? "We hunt them now."
"Not the smartest thing," the veteran reproved. Faith was relieved to see the soldier sling his gun back over his shoulder. "But your choice." The man started up the fire escape.
Once the vigilante was out of earshot, Faith grabbed hold of Xander’s arm and spun him round to face her. "What was that bs about our families?" she demanded. "And I thought you needed someone to run N.Y. for ya?" Xander opened his mouth but she continued over him. "Shit X, he’d be perfect. All that experience and skills -."
"Perfect?" Xander interrupted. "The guy is a certified loon. Once he went nuts and started shooting litterers. No way am I having him in the Brotherhood, even if I believed he’d take orders from me."
"But you’ll have Gecko?" Faith snapped back, her temper rising.
The Brotherhood is my responsibility!" Xander snapped back, ignoring Tara’s attempt at mediation. "I was the person chosen to lead the Brotherhood, not you. And I chose to have people I believe in, in it!"
"Yeah?" Faith arched an eyebrow. " Well it’s my decision who shares my bed, big-shot! And guess what? You’re sleeping on the couch tonight!"
FIC: MC 14 Feb ’00 A Swinging Town (2/6)
"She’s in position?"
"Yeah. Man, she’s a looker."
"Keep your mind on the job," he admonished his gang. "We’re getting paid major dollar for this." He spoke into his walkie-talkie again. "Bait the trap. And don’t lose her, but don’t let her get too close either."
"Hey," the bait sounded insulted. "I’ve done this before remember?"
* * *
"Oh yeah, a war-hero’s not good enough for you! But a bank-robbing-."
Tara gritted her teeth as she followed Xander and Faith through New York’s crowded streets, their bickering still continuing. God, she loved them, but sometimes…
The worse thing was she could see both sides. On the one hand Frank Castle would make a great team leader and was a far better man than Seth Gecko, who Faith had her own very personal and very good reasons for despising. On the other, the running the Brotherhood was Xander’s responsibility, a duty that weighed very heavily -. "Hey!" she screamed in outrage when a pony-tailed, baseball capped youth shouldered into her, ripping her handbag from around her shoulder, knocking her to the ground.
* * *
Sara’s eyes widened as she saw a handbag-snatching in progress. Pulling out her radio, she spoke into it even as she began to pursue the perp. "Det. Pezzini on Dempsey Ave, chasing a handbag-snatching suspect!"
* * *
"And another thing-."
Hearing her sister’s yell, Faith broke off from telling Xander exactly what she thought of him to spin around and see her sister falling. Concern changed to molten rage as she noted the mugger running off with Tara’s handbag. "Bastard!" she growled before turning to X. "Look after Tar!" she ordered. Without waiting for a reply she started after the bastard, careful to run fast, but not Slayer fast. "Time to lay down an ass-kicking." She grimaced as she noticed the other, nearer, woman chasing the thug. "Great," she muttered. The lanky brunette had to be a pig. Made things complicated.
* * *
Pezzini smirked as the perp began to wheeze. "Drugs and smoking will do that to you," she muttered even as she wondered about the curvy brunette trailing them. "Vigilantes, who needs them?" Deciding that it would be best if she had the fugitive under arrest before the do-gooder could get herself hurt, she picked up the pace and followed the fleeing criminal into an abandoned warehouse.
"Halt or I’ll shoot!" Her shout echoed through the deserted warehouse. The man spun around to face her. Sara’s eyes widened as she noticed the mini-uzi coming up inside the thug’s flapping overcoat. She instantly called the Witchblade to her.
And screamed as thousands of volts hit her from both left and right. The twin tazers shot through her, sending her into convulsions. Body shuddering violently, she fell to her knees, her magical gauntlet falling from her. She attempted to will the glove back to her, but found she couldn’t, her nerves fried.
She was vaguely conscious of her three attackers surrounding her even as she vomited uncontrollably. "What are the boss’ orders?" she saw a blurred hand pick up her gauntlet.
"Shame," she heard the chilling sound of a gun being cocked. "She’s a real looker."
"Boys, have you got a problem." Suddenly the girl she’d noticed earlier flew over her to crash feet-first in the face of the man directly in front of her, knocking him to the ground. A further two men ran out of the shadows only for one of them to catch a thrust kick to the chest, propelling him to the ground. The other hoodlum grabbed the girl’s shoulder but the teen just grabbed the thug’s wrist and flung him into the air.
The now wild-eyed hood carrying the Uzi raised his gun. A shot rang out. The man dropped, a huge hole appearing in the back of his head as he fell. "Run!" Sara tried to look over her shoulder so she could maybe identify her rescuer but darkness overwhelmed her, the last thing she heard before passing out was the sound of the hoods running away.
* * *
"Thanks baby," Faith’s heart bled as she hurried across the dirty warehouse. Taking her boy-friend’s ashen face in her hands, she gently kissed him on the chin. "It was me or him. You saved me, hon."
"What do we do about her?" Tara’s voice pulled both her and Xander’s eyes to the crumpled cop. Tara knelt beside her. "She’s still alive."
"X," Faith put in. "There’s something off about all this," she said. "It was a trap to get her." She picked up Tara’s handbag and passed it to her sis who smiled gratefully. "And when she turned up she magicked this weapon out of nowhere that those guys stole from her."
"Oh yeah?" Xander raised an eyebrow before pulling a pair of gloves out of The Always Pocket. "That is interesting," Xander commented as he put the gloves on. Faith was relieved to see the colour slowly returning to her honey’s face. Xan crouched over the cop and took her radio off her belt. "Officer down," Xander spoke into the crackling radio. "The warehouse off Makepeace Ave." Turning the radio off, her boy-friend dropped it onto the ground. "Let’s go."
Tara looked down at the unconscious law officer. "But what about-."
"Look Tara," Xander interrupted. "We really can’t afford for the police to catch up with us. Let’s go."
* * *
"Blend iron’s edge with the sun of gold.
Could gold alloyed or admixt be.
Fired white and chilled in wine-dark blood.
Thus is born the thirsty Blade, never dulled."
"But what is it?"
Xander looked up at his girl-friend’s impatient tone, hiding a grin. So predictable. "The Witchblade’s origins are shrouded in myth and speculation," he read from the Eternal Archive. "No one knows what it is made of, its metal has never been identified. Either it’s alien, made from some culture that has since died out, or made from magic. It is variously believed that the Witchblade originated in Scotland, Persia, Troy, or Atlantis. Only women of unmatched strength of mind, body, and will have wielded it. Its users include Boudicca, Cleopatra, and Joan of Arc. According to this Witchblade wielders are both its master and servant-."
"Kinda like being a Slayer," Faith quietly commented.
Xander nodded, pleased but not surprised by his lover’s perception. Some people, namely Buffy and Willow, took Faith’s lack of an education as proof of her stupidity. But Xander knew different. You didn’t get to be as verbally quick-witted and street-smart as the raven-haired Slayer was without a lot of brains. He continued to read. "The weapon draws to it what it needs and casts aside what it doesn’t. It stirs to life at times of crisis, during wars, famines, pestilence, the Witchblade has been used to cut a swathe through insurmountable evil."
There was a pause, a silence. Then Tara spoke. "We’re not leaving are we?"
Xander chuckled. "A weapon of unimaginable power in the hands of street thugs? What do you think?" He nodded, his face turning serious. "We’re staying."
FIC: MC 14 Feb ’00 A Swinging Town (3/6)
"You have the Witchblade?" Kingpin beamed at his underling’s nod. "Excellent. And Detective Pezzini?"
"Ah," his underling shuffled from foot to foot, his expression nervous. "She survived. There was -."
"I. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. HEAR. IT!" he thundered. "Find and kill her! Now, understand!"
"Yes sir," his minion nodded. "I’ll have our contacts paid off to find her location."
"Make sure you do," Fisk took a slow, calming breath. "And the Witchblade?"
His subordinate’s face brightened. "It should be ready for use in just a few days."
"Good," he nodded. At least something was going right. "And that other business?"
"I’ll get right on it sir."
* * *
Xander’s eyes narrowed as he watched from the end of the corridor as the officer stationed outside of Pezzini’s room answered a radio call, shrugged, and strode away. Xander looked left and right, caught on the horns of a dilemma. He’d been here for four hours, since they’d managed to track the injured cop down, and her sentry hadn’t moved an inch. Then a call comes in and he disappears. "She’s being set up," he decided.
He shook his head when the far end elevator doors opened and a trio of men with all the ponderous characteristics of suited leg-breakers stepped out. "Oh great," he scowled before darting into the detective’s room, easing the door shut and pulling a cupboard in front of it. "I knew Faith should have come instead of me. But no, I had to be chivalrous. Idiot."
He let out a relieved sigh when a quick inspection revealed that although the detective was doped up to the gills she wasn’t seriously hurt. "And at least doped up, she isn’t going to argue." He grinned briefly. "Which is a first for me and women."
"Hey! This door is blocked!"
Xander’s gaze snapped towards the door at the sound of thumping. Deciding in favour of speed over stealth, he drew his shotgun and fired at the window. The weapon’s boom filled the room a micro-second before its discharge blew out the window, propelling shattered glass flying outwards. After kicking the remaining glass fragments out of the window frame, he grabbed the slender cop, careful to keep her wrapped in her bed sheets, grateful of her bird-like frame, and climbed out of the room and onto the fire escape outside. Once they were on the escape, the cold NY. air whipping at them, Xander heard the door burst open just as he began to climb down. "Det. Pezzini," Xander said, "pleased to meet you."
* * *
"She escaped again!" Kingpin fumed as he paced around his office, his bulk making even his spacious surroundings seem somehow cramped. "I can’t believe what I’m hearing!" Grabbing the edge of his desk, he flung it into the wall before spinning around to face the unfortunate messenger. Grabbing the man by his lapels, he effortlessly lifted him off the ground. "I trust you also have some good news for me?"
"Y….yes s…sir," the scientist stuttered. "The Witchblade will definitely be ready by the end of tomorrow."
Slightly mollified, he nodded. "Make sure it is."
* * *
"Fuck X!" Faith’s eyes widened when the door to the discreet apartment they’d hired upon hitting town open and her boyfriend entered carrying the cop’s body. "I don’t mind ya having other chicks," she lied. "But bringing them home with ya’s a bit much!"
Xander shot her a pained look. "First, the cop outside her room was called away. Then, a minute later, three hoods with plenty of muscle and bad intentions turned up."
"Shit," Faith breathed. "Whoever she’s pissed off is big."
"That’s what I figured," Xander agreed.
* * *
Sara yawned, wiping instinctively at the drool forming at the corner of her mouth. "Sleeping beauty awakens," commented a male voice.
"X, shut up," a vaguely familiar husky voice retorted. "Tar, you set?"
"Ready," a third, softer voice responded.
The events of the past day hit her like a train. Her eyes shot open to see the trio of kids ten to fifteen years her junior surrounding her. Taking a second to collect herself, she glanced around her nondescript surroundings, hoping for some clue as to her location, but nothing. "Where am I?" she demanded, relieved by how steady her voice was. "And who are you?"
"I’m Alex," the boy announced, he nodded to the shy blonde. "This is Eloise." The youth glanced towards the brash brunette. "And that’s Faith."
Sara squinted, recognising the sultry beauty. "You were at the warehouse!" she accused. "You helped me!"
The raven-haired teen smirked. "Well actually I was after the fucker who’d stolen my sis’ bag, but yeah."
"How did you learn to fight like that?" she gasped.
"Just natural. Looks, talent, personality," the young man snorted at the last. Faith glared at him. "Guess I’m just lucky." The girl’s smile disappeared, her face turning almost feral. "How come you’re the Witchblade’s wielder?"
"Witchblade?" Sara tried for her ‘I’m playing poker with the boys’ voice. "What are you talking about?"
The boy glanced at the blonde, eyebrow raised. The shy-looking new age teen shook her head. "She’s lying."
"Okay," the young man straightened, stepping away from the wall he’d been lent against. "But her aura?"
"It’s good," the blonde replied.
Sara glanced at the faces of her three captors. Just what were they talking about? "Why aren’t I in the hospital?" she demanded, vaguely remembering being rushed into the hospital, sirens blaring as EMTs had talked about possible nerve damage from repeated electrification.
"Who wants you dead?" the young man asked bluntly. "Only when I watching you, a trio of suited thugs arrived about a minute after your guard was mysteriously called away."
Sara felt a hole form in the pit of her stomach. There was an undeniable truth in the boy’s voice. Anxious to regain her poise, she changed the subject. "Just what are you kids? Normal teens just don’t fight like she did," she nodded towards the smirking brunette. "And what’s this talk about auras?" she glanced to the blonde. "Who are you?"
The young man passed a thick phone book to the aforementioned Faith. Sara gasped wordlessly when the lithe teen tore the heavy volume with an ease that a world-class strongman three times her size would envy. She listened in amazement as the young man explained about the world of vampires and demons they lived in. It was ridiculous, and yet the Witchblade was hardly of the mundane world either.
And the unpalatable truth was she needed help. Whoever had stolen the Witchblade had serious power, enough to get her completely isolated from the force. Finally she nodded and began to talk, sharing what little she knew about the Witchblade. As she finished, the young man spoke. "And what do we do next?"
Sara thought for a second. She didn’t have a clue who’d taken the Blade and from the sound of things no longer had access to the NYPD’s resources. But there was one man…. "There’s plenty of major crime figures and illicit collectors in New York. But as the robbery took place in Hell’s Kitchen, we best go see Hell’s Kitchen’s resident crime expert." She grimaced, a bad taste forming in her mouth at the thought of asking help off that weasely shyster. "Attorney-At-Law, Matt Murdock."
FIC: MC 14 Feb ’00 A Swinging Town (4/6)
"Ah," Matt looked up as a quartet of unexpected guests entered his office and stood against the wall opposite him. "And how can I help you?"
"Fuck man, you blind?"
It took him a half-second to pinpoint the person who’d spoken and catalogue the speaker as white, female, young, working-class, and an east coast native. "Indeed I am, Miss-?"
"Faith," sensing the girl had approached and stuck out a hand. He reciprocated, rising, taking, and shaking the girl’s hand. He was surprised at the power of her grip, even sensing that the young woman was perhaps holding back so not to hurt him. "So you’re blind uh?" He nodded. "Major bummer," the girl sympathised. "A hottie like you not being able to see how good you look in the mirror in the morning." Matt heard a deep, a man’s groan from behind the teen. "What?" the girl’s voice had an injured note. "I was paying him a compliment."
"A back-handed one, but appreciated nonetheless," Matthew replied between chuckles. If nothing else, Faith’s words had a refreshing honesty. He’d grown tired of people tap-dancing around his disability decades ago. Turning serious, he looked sightlessly around his undoubtedly crowded office. "And how can I help you all?" Sitting back down, he pulled out his notepad and pen. "Just for notes," he explained.
"Shit," Faith sounded impressed. "You can write?"
"Faith," the young man sighed. "He’s blind not illiterate."
"Yeah, I know," Faith retorted, "but how does he know he’s not writing on the table?"
Matt chuckled. Oh this was entertaining.
His good mood was soon replaced by a sense of wariness. He didn’t need his special powers to sense the young man who was doing most of the talking was lying about everything – from their identities to their reasons for being here, a book that the oldest of the group claimed to be writing on crime with the help of three of her students. He didn’t sense any evil intent in his guests but on the other hand…. It was times like this he cursed the limitations of his radioactive-caused powers. "I’m afraid I can’t help you."
"But you’re Hell’s Kitchen number one lawyer! You must know who the major players are!" The woman who’d been identified as Sara protested.
They knew a lot about him. Too much. Hiding his discomfort behind a carefully bland expression, he shook his head. "I do a lot of public defending," he explained. The only way to get his hands on society’s dregs, to ascertain their guilt or otherwise. "But it’s strictly pro-bono. I don’t deal with the top line people. And those I do deal with are too scared to name names."
"Damn," this time it was Faith’s husky tones. "So you don’t know shit that we can use? Nothing for Sara’s book?"
"I’m afraid not," Matthew replied. "And even I did I would be less than happy at directing a trio of high school students and their teacher to such people as you wish to interview." Just what were his unwelcome guests after? They’d bear further investigating.
* * *
The Kingpin bounded into his state-of-the-art scientific facility, impatient to see if the news his minions had brought him just minutes ago was correct. "Is it true?" he demanded in a boom that echoed around the huge lab. "Is the Witchblade ready?"
"It appears so sir," his chief scientist rose from behind one of the desks, his expression anxious. "As I explained earlier, the Witchblade works on biomechanical recognition -."
"I know," he interrupted impatiently, his eyes fixed on the gleaming gauntlet fastened in a vice on a cluttered table just feet away. "Get on with it!"
"Yes sir," the scientist gulped at his growl. "The biomechanical recognition system ensures only Ms. Pezzini to use it. However thanks to the blood sample we stole, I’ve been able to come up with a masking agent." His underling picked up a syringe. "That will trick the weapon. But it’s an one-time only deal and will only work until you take the weapon off."
Kingpin smiled. He only needed the weapon until Daredevil was dead. After that its usefulness was over. "I can live with that," he pronounced. "How long does the inspection need to take effect?"
"And the rumours?" he asked, referring to the various titbits he’d scattered throughout his domain to tempt his nemesis to him.
He rolled up his sleeve, revealing his fleshy yet surprisingly muscular arm. "You better inject me then."
* * *
"Have you got any other leads?" Xander asked the detective as they left the public defender’s office.
"He was lying," Tara declared.
"Say what?" Faith looked towards the witch. "I thought you gave me the sign he was on the level?"
The Wicca nodded. "I did. He has a good aura, but he was lying all the same."
"About what?" Faith queried. "If he’s on the level, why he’d lie?"
"Maybe he’s scared. Knows stuff but doesn’t dare to ‘rat’ anyone out. Or maybe," Xander grimaced, "it’s lawyer-client privilege stuff." He turned to their silently observing companion. "What do you think?"
The beautiful policewoman smiled cynically. "I was thinking while we were in there. I was transferred here without warning, off my usual turf. There’s one person with that sort of influence – the Kingpin."
"The Kingpin?" Faith got her question in before him. "Who’s that?"
"The Kingpin," Pezzini shook her head. "Wilson Fisk is a man who’s never been convicted of anything but is generally believed to run most of the crime on the east coast. His major enemy is none other than Daredevil."
"Heard of him, seen him on TV" Faith commented. "Looks wicked hot in his costume." Xander glared at his girl-friend. "What? Just saying!"
Sara stared at them for a second before shaking her head and continuing. "He grew up from a lower working-class family and although obese is said to be exceptionally strong and is an expert in sumo wrestling. He’s been the leader of most of the gangs in N.Y. for over twenty decades but bases his operations largely in Hell’s Kitchen."
* * *
Murdock listened to his guests talk on the street outside his office, a scowl settling on his face at their confusing conversation. What were auras? So Sara was a policewoman, but who were her companions? And more worryingly, what did they want from Kingpin?
Finally he stood. Grabbing his cane, he hurried to the office door. "I think tonight, Daredevil takes to the skies."
* * *
Kingpin beams as the gauntlet fixed itself to his arm. "It works!" he turned to his waiting subordinates. "Get out!" he boomed. "I need to test it."
And await Daredevil’s arrival. Time to end this.
FIC: MC 14 Feb ’00 A Swinging Town (5/6)
"And another thing," Jackson slammed his glass down on the worn bar surface, liquid sloshing over the glass rim. "You -."
"Hi stud, wanna buy me a drink?"
Jackson’s mouth dried as he turned to inspect the raven-haired, leather-clad teen goddess speculatively eying him. "Sure babe," he finally managed to reply. "What’s your poison?"
The girl winked. "I like my drinks the same way I like my men. Long and hard."
* * *
Daredevil crouched on the top of a sky-scraper, the wind whistling about him, buffeting him. He stared sightlessly across the road, blocking out the superfluous sound of cars and people rushing around in the New York night to concentrate on a fourth floor penthouse across the road. Finally he smiled. "He’s there," he whispered. He quickly ran his hands over his body to check his crime-fighting equipment was all in place. Finally satisfied he was ready, he leapt into the cold night sky.
* * *
Jackson grinned as he escorted the stunning brunette out of the bar. Man, she had a body that just didn’t quit, filled with sinful curves that went on forever. He couldn’t wait to see how she looked laid on his bed.
His XXX plans were interrupted by a strong hand on his collar and cold voice in his ear. "That’s my girl you’re pawing."
* * *
Fisk smirked as his sensors registered the presence of someone on the outer wall of his apartment. "Oh please come in, said the spider to the fly," Kingpin muttered as moved over to the remote controls of the system his electronics expert had set up. One way or another it would soon be over.
* * *
Heart racing, Johnson spun around and reached for his automatic inside his jacket. His face exploded in agony when his attacker butted him in the nose, shattering the bridge. Blood pouring down his face, he stumbled backwards but his attacker was remorseless, snapping a foot into his right knee.
He fell screaming to the refuse-strewn ground. Again he tried to reach into his jacket but his arm was grabbed and yanked out. He groaned when his assailant slammed a foot into his ribs. He wheezed desperately for air, helpless to prevent the young man from reaching into his jacket and pulling out his automatic. "Nice gun. But gold plated?" the youth chuckled. "A little much don’t you think?"
He stared up at his attacker, eyes watering, and throat rasping from the lack of air. He was shocked to see his assailant was a kid twenty to thirty years his junior. "You’ve," he took a heaving breath, "no idea." He coughed. "You’re dealing with!"
"Oh yeah?" the kid appeared unfazed as he raised an eyebrow. "Try this. Rodney ‘The Rooster’ Johnson. The man who runs," he shrieked when the youth stamped on his right hand, agony blazing through his fingers. "Fisk’s right hand man, runs his extortion rackets for him. His strong-arm muscle. So," the young man crouched over him. "I know what you are. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is what you can tell me."
* * *
Huddled into the penthouse wall to protect himself from the whipping winds and the pounding rain, Daredevil worked on the window lock by touch alone, allowing himself a smirk at the telltale click of it springing open. Easing the window open, he crept into the darkened apartment. "Hello Daredevil."
He turned towards the bulky infra-red signature. "Hello Fisk and how have you been? What have you been planning? I’ve heard some rumours…." He allowed his voice to trail off.
"Nothing much," he sensed that the criminal mastermind was smiling. "Planning to kill you."
"Again?" Daredevil himself even as he readied himself for whatever his arch-rival had planned. "Doesn’t that get boring?"
"I prefer to think of it as challenging," Kingpin replied.
Daredevil opened his mouth to reply. Suddenly his senses were assaulted when the room erupted in a crescendo of pounding heavy metal and strobe lighting flashed wildly across the room, taking him to his knees.
* * *
Faith glared intently at Xander as he questioned the crime-lord, willing her honey to beat the shit out of the prick. "Are you okay?"
She started at her sister’s soft voice in her ear. After a second, she replied. "Yeah." Truth was, there was once a time scoring with a made man like Johnson would have been a dream for her. Sure, he was piece of shit but she also knew that guys like him treated their girls well.
Until they kicked them to the kerb.
Now though, she had loftier goals. Like being a champion, helping people. And most importantly, having a family. She smiled at her sis’ comforting arm around her shoulders. Yeah, a family.
* * *
Kingpin raised the Witchblade and fired an energy bolt into his enemy’s body. He laughed when the masked crime-fighter screamed as the bolt tore into his shoulder and flipped him onto his back. Daredevil kicked out at him, but he was easily able to avoid the wild swing before stamping on the crime-fighter’s leg. Before the vigilante had time to retaliate he grabbed hold of Daredevil’s shoulder and flung him into a bookcase stacked with 1st editions. The bookcase swayed and then fell onto the super-hero. "Now this was pathetically easy," he shoved the bookcase off the crumpled body. "I’m almost disappointed." He grabbed the crime-fighter by his mask. "Now, let’s see what’s under there?"
"You don’t want to do that," a man’s jocular voice proclaimed from his penthouse doorway. "I think he’s kinda shy. Or really ugly. Either way," the voice hardened. "The mask stays on."
* * *
"This the place?" Faith asked, Xander nodded. "How are we doing this? Subtle or direct?"
"Direct," Xander replied, her boy-friend’s eyes fixed on the gleaming apartment block across the road, the night traffic passing between them and their target. X pulled a whiskey bottle out of the Always Pocket and poured its contents over his head. "I’ll deal with this." Before she had opportunity to say a word, X started across the road, veering an unsteady path and causing cars to blare their horns in protest, and hit their brakes to avoid him.
Finally she shook her head. "Damn fool man."
"Aren’t they all?" Faith nodded at Detective Pezzini’s comment. Wasn’t that the truth.
* * *
"Hewwy," Xander stumbled over the kerb to land at the feet of the two suits guarding the entrance to the Kingpin’s building. He belched and giggled as one of the guards grabbed and roughly dragged him to his feet. Xander grinned stupidly at the man. "Thanks man," he slurred. "Say!" He threw his hands up into the starry sky. "I’ve just been to the best party ever!" He winked drunkenly at the sentries. "I bet," he pointed towards the building, "there’s some great parties going on in there." He stepped towards the building.
"Sorry sir." One of the men-mountains stepped into his path. "This is a -."
He interrupted the man with a palm to the throat. Even as his rival’s legs buckled beneath him, Xander grabbed him by his square jaw and slammed his head into the bullet-proof glass door behind. Spinning around to face the other guard, he leaned away from an overhead right, grabbed his rival’s wrist, and pulled the man into a knifehand to the nose.
Blood fountained out of the man’s nose. Before the thug had chance to react, Xander roundhouse kicked him in the face, sending him crashing to the ground. "Hired muscle." Xander shook his head. "They don’t make it like in the good old days."
* * *
"Wow," Sara gaped as she watched the youth tear into the thugs with an aplomb that few vets twice his age could match. "He knows his stuff."
"Oh yeah," Faith smirked proudly, "my baby’s totally kick-ass." She sobered. "Let’s go."
FIC: MC 15 Feb ’00 A Swinging Town (6/6)
Kingpin’s head snapped towards the doorway. He gaped at the brawny youth, two beautiful teens, and a woman he recognised from a photograph his people had secured for him as Sara Pezzini. Gathering his wits, he raised and aimed the Witchblade at the interlopers.
And cursed when it fell off his wrist, hitting the ground with a clunk. For a second he stared with disbelief at the mystical weapon lying on his carpet. Realising that the weapon had re-asserted its true nature in the presence of its real wielder, he hurried towards his desk and to the gun secured there.
Despite his surprising speed for a man of his immense bulk, he found his way blocked by a ravishing brunette a third of his size. "Out of my way!" he snarled, throwing a clubbing backhand at the lithe beauty’s face.
And immediately flew into the wall when the young woman grabbed him by his forearm and flung him into the wall. "Damn mutants," he groaned as he struggled to his feet. Looking around, he saw Pezzini grabbing for the Witchblade, the well-built youth and the raven-haired lovely were busy turning off the sound-system and strobe lightning, and the other female was helping Daredevil to his feet.
Deciding that she offered the best chance for a hostage, Kingpin reached behind him, and pulled his knife out of his back sheath. It only took him four paces to bring him to bring him to the duo’s side. Knocking the still dazed crime-fighter back to the ground, he wrapped an arm around the blonde’s throat, squeezing hard even as he levelled the knife-point at her eye. "Don’t move dear," he whispered into the girl’s ear. Shoving aside his worry at the young woman’s apparent lack of concern, he turned his attention to her companions. "Don’t," he warned Pezzini before turning his attention to the two kids. "Let’s not be causing any trouble shall we?" he smiled. "After all, you wouldn’t want this pretty little thing to be hurt would you?"
"You hurt her and you’ll wish DD had finished you off first!"
Despite his surprising disquiet at the coldness in the brunette’s husky voice and the burning ferocity in her eyes, he managed a laugh. "Hurt her?" he shook his head. "Why that’s the last thing on my mind. No, I and this sweet lady are just going to take a short ride."
* * *
Daredevil forced his head up. His eyes narrowed as he picked up his arch-rival with his arms around Tara. Forcing back a groan, he reached out for his billy-club. Grabbing the staff he brought his arm back and flung the weapon at the criminal overlord.
"Oww!" The staff crashed into Kingpin’s elbow, knocking the knife out of his hand and the criminal stumbling forward.
* * *
The moment Kingpin stumbled, Faith joined Xan in leaping forward, but while her honey leapt to catch Tara, she moved into the attack. Her heel caught Kingpin under the jaw, snapping his head back, lifting him off his feet, and flinging him into the far wall. In an instant, she was knelt astride the gargantuan mob boss. "And for the record fat-ass," she punched the bald man in the mouth, knocking teeth out, "not a mutant. Just a super-hot, demon-killing machine!"
Satisfied the man was out cold, she rose and strode over to the nearest of her companions. "Pezzini, the Witchblade still work?"
The detective nodded. "It appears to."
"Cool," Faith sauntered over to her friends. "You five by five, big sis?" she asked, hiding the depth of her concern behind a casual tone and a smirk.
She was relieved when her sister nodded and smiled. "I’m fine thanks to," the witch’s gaze turned to the masked crime-fighter, "Daredevil." Tara glanced at all of them in turn. "I want to speak to him alone."
Faith glanced at Xander for guidance. Her honey shrugged before looking towards Kingpin. "He’s out night?"
"Colder than the North Pole," she replied. "He’s out for hours."
"Okay," Xan nodded. "Then let’s go." After shooting Daredevil a warning glance, promising dire consequences if the vigilante dared harmed a hair on her sis’ head; she followed the others out, closing the doors behind her.
* * *
For a long second Tara stared at the costumed crime-fighter. He hadn’t saved her, not really. In fact shock at the vigilante’s appearance had distracted her – without the shock of recognising him as his aura belonging to the lawyer Matt Murdoch, Kingpin would have never grabbed her. And if she’d had just a few seconds more, she’d have sent her captor’s knife into his own hand.
Still, the masked crime-fighter had done the right thing. "Thank you Matthew."
The masked man started slightly but recovered quickly. "You must be mistaken miss."
Tara shook her head. "No, I’m not. To me, every human has an unique identifiable aura. You’re a very nice, blind lawy-," her voice trailed off as she realised the impossibility of the feared super-hero being the sightless attorney. "Don’t worry," she soothed. "Your secret’s safe with me. I won’t tell anyone, not even the others. But how do you do it?"
* * *
Matt stared at the young woman, caught on the horns of an especially painful dilemma. He didn’t want to share the details of his powers with this stranger. On the other hand, what choice did he have? He couldn’t hurt an innocent who’d come to help him. And she would keep his secret; her heartbeat told him of her sincerity. Finally he began to speak. "When I was a kid, I could see, I was just a normal kid. But when I was eight I saw this truck about to hit this blind man," suddenly the roar of that very vehicle filled his ears. Shaking it off, he continued. "I threw myself at the man and knocked him out of the way-."
"That was very brave."
He smiled at the young woman’s softly spoken compliment. "But a can of radioactive waste fell from the truck, broke open, and irradiated me. The accident blinded me but also enhanced my other senses. I can "see" by means of my "radar sense", which acts not unlike sonar, my sense of smell, hearing, and touch are likewise enhanced. I later met a martial arts master, Stick, who taught me how to use his newly augmented senses - and trained me as a fighter. My father," Matt’s breath caught, "a boxer, was killed by mobsters when he refused to throw a fight, when I failed to find justice by conventional means, Daredevil was born."
"Well thank you Matthew Murdock," Tara took his face in her very soft hands and gently kissed him on the lips before pulling away, her sweet scent in his nostrils and soft whisper floating to his ears. "Your secret’s safe with me."
* * *
"What do you think? Are you interested in running New York for me?"
Sara stared across the table of the downtown coffee house they were in, the delicious smell of coffee and pastries mixing in the hot air, and to the anxious-looking young man sat opposite. After a second she glanced down to the gauntlet on her arm, currently visible only to her. After the events of the past few days, especially being set up by her own superiors, had soured her on the whole idea of being a cop. And maybe, this was why the Witchblade had chosen her, to fight in this war. "I’ll do it," she decided.
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